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Slope orientation enhances the nurse effect of a paramo shrub, Hypericum irazuense (Hypericaceae) in Costa Rica

  • Alejandro G. Farji-Brener (a1), Federico A. Chinchilla (a2), Ainhoa Magrach (a3), Víctor Romero (a4), Marcos Ríos (a5), Marianela Velilla (a6), José Manuel Serrano (a7) and Sabrina Amador-Vargas (a8)...


The nurse effect is a positive interaction in which one plant (the nurse) provides conditions that enhance the establishment and growth of another plant species (Callaway 1995). Increased environmental severity appeared to increase the strength of nurse effects (Brooker et al. 2008, Lortie & Callaway 2006). On the one hand, the impact of the nurse effect depends on the magnitude of the environmental changes exerted by the nurse plant. On the other hand, the impact could depend on the number of plant species in the regional pool that respond to such changes. For example, better conditions beneath the crowns of nurse plants might allow the occurrence of species that are sensitive to environmental stress and that occur infrequently in open areas. Thus, if a nurse plant modulates environmental conditions that are critical for the persistence of other plant species, it seems likely that such nurse plants would have greater effects in stressful habitats, where they cause relatively larger environmental mitigation (Badano et al. 2006, Callaway et al. 2002).


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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
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